PayPal founder launches venture fund

The technology and venture guru has contributed a ‘significant’ amount to Mithril Capital Management’s $402m first close and will chair the firm’s investment committee.

Famed investor Peter Thiel has put his name and wallet behind Mithril Capital Management’s debut fund, which has collected more than $400 million in a first close. 

Mithril Capital Management’s debut vehicle, which is targeting $1 billion, will make growth equity investments in the global technology sector, focusing specifically on companies that have moved beyond the venture-backed stage, according to a release. Thiel has put a “very significant” amount of money in the Mithril fund already, according to a market source.

Thiel will chair the firm’s investment committee, where he is joined by a pair of former Clarium managing directors, Ajay Royan and Jim O’Neill. Although the Mithril team only began discussions with investors last fall, the firm has been in the making for years, O’Neill told Private Equity International.

“Ajay, Peter and I have been talking about it for years really,” he said. “Clarium’s a great name, Peter has a great reputation. Ajay has done great work … All the influences on the team, and on the vision, is welcomed.”

The team has already begun to seek out investment opportunities, O’Neill said, looking specifically at technology companies whose growth potential may have been overlooked by capital market sources.  

Mithril will complement the strategies of Founders Fund and Clarium, according to a release, offering portfolio companies “access to guidance and collaborative opportunities from the Thiel network of fellow tech industry trailblazers.”

Thiel made his name in the technology world as a creator of internet payment system PayPal, and later went on to found hedge fund Clairum Capital and venture capital firm Founders Fund. In addition to his work in venture and hedge, Thiel was also an early investor in Facebook. 

Mithril, which is headquartered in San Francisco, has not indicated when it plans to hold a final close.